CLARENVILLE, NL — When Pastor David Bowering handed the keys to the very first tenant of New Life Community Church’s affordable housing unit in Clarenville, he says it made it all the effort worth it.
With tears welling up in their eyes, Bowering could see the true impact of the endeavour.
“Just to see someone’s life change and the look on their face. I’ve never had nothing like this in my life before,” Bowering told the Packet.
“It’s pretty touching and emotional.”
The housing development plans for three houses, with four apartments each, started several years ago under previous Pastor Keith Chard, who has been instrumental along with his father in making the project a reality, says Bowering.
After some delays in securing the land to build, construction on the housing began earlier this year.
“It all worked out in the end,” said Bowering. He says the church has dreamed of providing not only spiritual needs, but also practical needs in the community.
Two of the first 10 planned apartments are now complete, while crews are still working to finish more units.
Bowering thanked the Town of Clarenville and chief administrative officer David Harris, as well as the federal government and province partnership, for providing funding and working to make the project possible.
New Life Church owns the building, having arranged all the building details during construction, and the government program Labrador Housing handles the renting procedure and sets the rent at an affordable rate for tenants.
Bowering says he’s glad to help provide affordable housing to residents who are struggling to get by. The church can also minister spiritually to residents if they wish; however, there is no obligation.
“So now people can live and get their mind off of, ‘Where am I going to stay tonight?’ They’ve got a place to live and now they can concentrate on finding work or that kind of stuff.”
A separate committee, associated with the church, helps identify people with complex needs who can avail of the housing. The group recognizes guidelines outlined by Labrador Housing in its decisions.
“Everyone deserves a roof over their head,” says Bowering.
As for future projects, he says the church is hoping to continue to provide opportunities for those in need in the community.
“We’re praying right now for more projects in our future.”